Yoga can be classified in various different types each having a distinct name derived from their particular features. It has been seen that the beginners who are new to Yoga tends to get confused by all the terminologies and unable to decide which type of Yoga to choose. But it should always be kept in mind that irrespective of the type, all forms of Yoga are based upon few core principles which remains same.
The difference mainly is based upon which aspect the emphasis is being given in any particular Yoga type.
The basic principles of Yoga revolves around alignment of body parts in various poses, following a particular breathing pattern and focusing the mind away from external distractions. Some of the broad classifications of Yoga has been explained in the later part of this article.
With the emerging popularity of Yoga, numerous fitness organizations all over the world has started promoting and marketing their Yoga programs putting some of their own marketing twists in it. This makes it all more confusing and difficult to understand and choose. Especially when they tend to market new methods and new benefits in exchange of boat load of money.
But be aware of the fact that most of these companies are selling you hypes. So if you feel your finances are limited, there is absolutely nothing to worry. There is no dire necessity of courses and classes. You just need to gather information on various poses and internet is a classic source of this information. Remember, Yoga is an ancient art and has always been performed with simplicity through ages.
Although if we start discussing about the various forms of Yoga in details, it can potentially become a huge document. Which is far beyond the scope of this small article. So let’s touch upon the main characteristics of the various types which will help understand the classification.
The word Ashtanga or Astanga means “having eight limbs” in Sansrit. The ancient Yogic sage Patanjali first developed Ashtanga Yoga.
In modern days, it has become a very popular choice.This Yoga is based on the principle of executing a series of successive poses, and synchronising the breathing pattern with it. Ashtanga Yoga does involve quite a high level of physical activity and thus can take some time to master.
But if you practice this form of Yoga, beyond doubt it will help you shade extra weight and become slim and strong at the same time.
Ananda Yoga is actually a form of Yoga which has been sub branched from Hatha Yoga by Yogi Kriyananda, who is a direct disciple of Indian spiritual guru Paramahansa Yogananda.
There is less emphasis on physically demanding postures in this form of Yoga. Principle focus is to relax the body and mind through gentler poses combined controlled breathing. An initiation to deeper meditation is a greater objective of Ananda Yoga.
In Sanskrit the word Hath means “force” and it is most prevalent form of Yoga all over the world.
Hatha Yoga lies high emphasis on physical exercises along with controlling the mind to shield it from distractions. Chances are that you have seen Hatha Yoga images at multiple places including Yoga related TV programs and DVD covers. The principle is to perform a continuous series of movements to attain different poses in succession along with controlled breathing. The entire needs to be done in a relaxing manner with always taking care of the slow breathing pattern. It is not allowed to hasten through the sequence of moves and follow the process.
If you practice Hatha Yoga religiously, it will be help you gain clarity and self awareness.
This form of Yoga, as the name suggests have been synthesized from Hatha Yoga sequences by an Indian Yoga expert Bikram Choudhury.
Bikram Yoga needs to be done in heated up atmosphere. The room where the practice will take place need to have a temperature ranging from 95 -105 degree Fahrenheit. The heat is said to make the body more tolerant to injuries and give the muscles a level of flexibility. Also it has been claimed that it helps in detoxification.
How true is that? Well, no clear answers, because, that claim is yet to be proved scientifically.
But nonetheless, this form of Yoga has gained popularity among masses. But Bikram Yoga can be a costly affair due to its commercialized nature since special rooms and arrangements are needed in addition to professional supervision. So make an informed decision if you want to opt to opt for Bikram Yoga.
Yoga has branched out to multiple other types like Vinayasa Yoga, Sivananda Yoga, Iyengar Yoga and many others. But the most popular and vastly followed were mentioned above. Do not forget to research appropriately depending upon your own unique needs before starting with a particular form of Yoga. As mentioned above Internet is an unending repository of knowledge.
The bottom line is still that the basic principles are more or less same irrespective of the forms of Yoga. What is important is to get started and be regular and persistent in the practice. So, do not overthink, get started with your choice of Yoga poses and be assured that you will soon be able to reap several health benefits from it.